APL Gears Up to Assist in 2020 Census

February 27, 2020 | Adult Services

As the nation gets ready to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census, Albany Public Library APL is gearing up to provide assistance at the local level.

Several library branches will host community conversations during which the public can learn more about the census, why it’s important, and where to find resources.

All seven of the APL branches will also provide census labs where people can access computers, internet, and WiFi to log on and complete their census forms online, as well as staff and volunteers trained to answer questions about the process.

“The 2020 census is important for our city, schools, and libraries. An accurate count, one that puts Albany above 100,000 residents, can have major implications for our community,” said Scott C. Jarzombek, APL executive director. “Many people, including me, believe that participation in the census is as important as voting.”

Because of this, APL has been a participating member of Albany Counts since 2018. Albany Counts is the city’s complete count committee comprised of current and former elected officials, city officials, community organizations, and educational institutions that are committed to communicating the importance of the census to residents and alleviating concerns surrounding the process.

“Albany Public Library has been working hard to prepare our facilities and staff to help members of the community as they complete the census this spring,” Jarzombek said. “Our goal is to educate the public and provide assistance for completing the census.”

Many of the library’s branches are in what are considered “hard to count” areas of Albany. APL also recognizes that a digital census has created new barriers and that the library, the leading agency bridging the digital divide, is at the forefront of eliminating those barriers.

The library’s census education efforts are focused on a series of community conversations where representatives from the census will join library staff to explain the importance of the census, why people should complete it, what the questionnaire will look like, how to fill it out, and where they can get help doing so.

The schedule for census community conversations at APL is:
• March 3 (Tues) at 6:00-7:30 pm | Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch | 148 Henry Johnson Blvd.
• March 5 (Thurs) at 1:00-2:30 pm | Bach Branch | 455 New Scotland Ave.
• March 5 (Thurs) at 5:30-7:00 pm | Delaware Branch | 331 Delaware Ave.
• March 9 (Mon) at 6:00-7:30 pm | Washington Ave. Branch | 161 Washington Ave.
• March 16 (Mon) at 6:00-7:30 pm | Pine Hills Branch | 517 Western Ave.
• March 30 (Mon) at 6:00-7:30 pm | Howe Branch | 105 Schuyler St.

The library’s public assistance efforts are centered on census labs at all library branches. The census labs will allow people to get on a library computer, or connect to the WiFi using their own devices, to complete the form online. The labs will also have phones for those who choose to do the call-in census form. And, most importantly, the labs will have library staff and volunteers who can help people through the process.

The census labs will be open on select days and hours starting March 23 and running through April 30. Details are being finalized now, and will be published on the library’s website.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.